Poe’s Law and Fundamentalist Evolutionists…

As a lot of my readers will know, there is a definite “internet culture”, with it’s own slang, it’s own etiquette (netiquette), it’s own definitions for words, etc… Sometimes something becomes so popular on the ‘net that it enters the mainstream world.  These things that move through some portions of the ‘net like wildfire take a bit more time to filter to everyone in the “real world,” and to certain parts of the web.  An example of what I’m referring to is a phrase like “Poe’s Law.”  If you are doing Christian Apologetics on message boards, or blogs, or are surfing the net reading different religious discussion boards, Poe’s Law is sure to come up at some point.

What is Poe’s Law?  The law itself was defined by Nathan Poe over on Christian Forums.  He was making the point that without some sort of overt sign, like a winking smiley ( ;) ) or something to show irony, that you really can’t tell the difference between a parody of fundamentalism and the real thing.  Meaning, with Poe’s Law, many times you cannot tell if someone is being sarcastic, and attempting humor or are really serious with what they are saying.   Take someone, for example, going around the ‘net claiming the earth is flat, because they claim that the Bible says it is (of course, it does no such thing, but bear with me).  Now, there are two possibilities; either they are jerking everyone’s chain to try to prove a point, or they are completely wrong, but completely serious. That’s Poe’s Law; you can’t tell the difference unless the person is 100% honest and tells you their motivation.

Poe’s Law is often centered around Christian fundamentalism…however, back when Expelled: The Movie (Expelled is a documentary revealing the prejudice and bias of the academic community centering around evolution vs. Intelligent Design) was being released in theaters a youtube video was released on March 28, 2008 by a user by the name of “randomslice;” Richard Dawkins: Beware the Believers (for my readers who care about such things; there’s mild language, wacky hip hop dance moves, and employs language meant to show naturalistic evolutionists’ disdain for us religious folk, so if that will bother you, skip watching the vid) :

Now, when this video was released the ‘net was buzzing with speculation; who produced it? (The question is hilarious in and of itself; because it was obvious that the video was indeed designed by an intelligent designer, and everyone wanted to know who it was; it could never have happened by chance.) Was it poking fun at those that support Intelligent Design, such as the makers of “Expelled: The Movie,” or at those fundamentalist Darwinian evolutionists who cannot stand any other theory being discussed and who try to take a position of intellectual superiority?

Well, the first time my husband and I saw it, we felt it was plainly a mockery of the Darwinian position…and we could not believe that they were blind to this fact…well, on April 20th, randomslice added a new vid; Richard Dawkins: Designed by chance?

Clears it all up, right?  It clearly shows that it was the Expelled crew, those in favor of ID being discussed, that was behind the video.  And yet…and yet, the fundamentalist Darwinian evolutionists couldn’t give it up.  The next theory was that Mike, over at Float on Films, (who was in charge of the animation) had to really be on the Darwinists’ side even though he was hired by the Expelled crew…because, look at Ben Stein’s t-shirt in the second clip…it says “Poe’s Law.”

Now at this point, I’m laughing, and loving it, because the Expelled crew just gave the world an example of Poe’s Law from the other perspective.  Their video demonstrates that you can’t tell a parody of Fundamentalist Darwinism from a display of the real thing!  The Darwinists couldn’t even tell, that means they fully expect their really arguments to come off that way.  Of course it is indeed a parody, trying to show how the Darwinists, especially Atheistic Darwinists, now have a fundamentalist branch, which falls within Poe’s law as well.  This set of videos was a kick, everyone following Expelled, on each side, really enjoyed the videos, and it was great fun reading everyone’s discussions when they were trying to figure out who designed them.

So, there ya go; two birds, one stone.  I’ve given you a run down of the phrase “Poe’s Law” and shown an illustration of the extreme position that fundamentalist evolutionists have taken up.  Yes, it was a parody, but a parody so close to the real thing that even adherents to fundamentalist evolutionary theory couldn’t tell the difference, and even embraced the videos as representative of their position.

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86 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Humor, Of Interest, Origins

86 responses to “Poe’s Law and Fundamentalist Evolutionists…

  1. I am relatively new to the blog world, so this was valuable info, since I have sensed people messing with me, but, as you say, it is difficult to perceive that correctly unless they be honest. There seems to be as much paranoia and dogma on the “scientific” side of this debate as some of the more angry and bitter fundy’s side. I also liked your post on fear and Jesus stilling the storm. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the Storm of human events, and I, quite often, seem to be unable to rest in his peace and security. Thanks again!

  2. Sherry

    That was really great. I loved it, especially the 2nd video. . . . and they still argued!!!!! Amazing, simply amazing.

    keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks for this. I enjoyed it. The confusion surrounding the video was amazing. I think people got out of it what they took into it. If I had a quarter for every email and comment I’ve gotten telling me that Dawkins is in fact, much smarter than I am….

  4. Kliska

    Thanks for stopping by, I have to say, my husband and I can watch these videos over and over and get a chuckle out of them every time. We love the humor that they were written and animated with!

    Dawkins is apparently even smarter than other scientists with exactly the same science degree, so don’t feel too bad ;) . Heh.

  5. I’ll be honest — when I saw the “Beware the Believers,” I assumed it designed by someone who was trying to make fun of the intelligent design movement — not by someone who supported it!

    Why? For one thing, it seemed so outrageous, so over-the-top, that I couldn’t imagine that whoever made it had been sincere. It struck me as a hilarious parody of what intelligent design supporters sincerely believe about naturalists.

    I can say with a high degree of confidence that Myers and Dawkins et al. didn’t see it as an accurate representation of their views, but as a caricature of what they regard as the paranoia of their critics.

  6. Kliska

    Actually, the reaction showed that it demonstrated what a great many naturalists think about themselves. As I monitored the various message boards (including Dawkins’ and Myers’ ) the naturalists were crowing, and saying that anyone even associated with the movie Expelled, no matter in what capacity, wouldn’t be smart enough to write the rap, sing it, or animate it so well.

    They were also fairly disappointed when it was revealed that the Expelled crew was behind it. There were several with a good sense of humor that congratulated Mike and everyone else involved for the vids.

    Dawkins said on his website, early on, “I don’t know what to say about this…” and, “…just tell me whose side it’s on.” (That’s cheatin’ Dawkins, and it shows that he indeed felt it was possible it was supposed to be supporting him and his position, though he doesn’t like rap.) You can also read a lot of comments from the various disciples of the lead proselytizing atheists on Dawkins’ board, Myers’ board, etc… “Awesome,” “clearly pro-science,” “a scientific appeal to the younger generation (through rap music),” etc…

    Many comments set up a “weasler” in that they left themselves a way out if they were wrong, “Well, I think it’s pro-Dawkins, but if not, it still shows that Dawkins rules and that he is raising people’s consciousness…” It did work great as a wonderful example of Poe’s law.

  7. Happy to see you, Edmondson!

    I would suggest reading this: http://copache.wordpress.com/2008/08/04/beware-the-believers-expelled-viral-video/

    As it happens, many of us know it’s promotion for Expelled and don’t care anyway. I don’t care at all. It’s very funny, and that matters. Just so happens that you gained the wrong audience with it…

    Which means you failed at the task given, I’m afraid.

    But it’s still a laugh and a half!

  8. Kliska

    I don’t think they gained the wrong audience with it at all…that’s the point. ;) They definitely didn’t fail, no, I think they fulfilled their aim.

  9. Snib

    The most interesting point of this was that the Expelled crew hired an independent Canadian marketer to create these videos. He posts on Youtube as ‘floatonfilms’ and has created more videos that demonstrate that his political/religious leanings *don’t* seem to match those of the Expelled crew (please forgive me for assuming that they probably subscribe to the commonly held views of the US ‘religious right’ because I don’t see why they would make that movie otherwise. Regardless, this is an assumption on my part).

    His other videos include one with a Pro-gay marriage theme (which is unflattering towards people with anti-gay marriage viewpoints) and another short one that shows PZ Myers “desecrating” a consecrated communion wafer, a page of the Koran, and a page of the God Delusion in a light-hearted joking context (and a shot of Richard Dawkins in a bondage situation with a naughtily dressed nun). When people make negative comments on these videos he seems perfectly happy to give them a bit of a mocking.

    I think it *might* be more reasonable to say that the Expelled crew hired someone to make a highly politicized video without realizing he didn’t entirely agree with them (as his unrelated other videos suggest). As most of the people who seem to have enjoyed the video *also* do not agree with them, I think it may be possible that the Expelled crew didn’t get quite what they wanted out of this.

    Disclaimer: First, yes I am an atheist and I love the movies regardless of their underlying meaning because they’re just that funny (especially Daniel Dennet dressed as a pimp). No, I’m not here to troll (and you have my sincere apologies if I sound like one). I just want to point out that the situation is probably nowhere near as simple as anyone on either side is assuming. If anyone ‘lost’ it was the Expelled crew who ended up having their marketing attempt mostly appreciated by people who had no intention whatsoever of seeing their film.

  10. Kliska

    As you can see if you look at the other comments, Edmondson stopped by and left his own comment. And, I don’t think people really understand one of the points with this whole “kerfuffle” (sorry, I can’t help it, I love the word “kerfuffle” ) .

    Edmondson’s own belief system isn’t what was at question here, though there are so many people on each side trying to make it about that. The Expelled videos were hired done and they were done in such a good way as to cause a lot of discussion. The thing that I address in my post is the Poe’s law idea which the videos, and all the responses made by atheists do showcase wonderfully; as well as the fact that it was hired done by the Expelled crew.

    So, the controversy isn’t over Edmundson’s viewpoint, but over the videos themselves, the content specific to those videos, and who all was involved in the creation of those videos; meaning who was behind it.

  11. Snib

    I’m sorry, that was my mistake on not reading all of the comments. I was mostly intending to reply to your recent comment that they ‘fulfilled their aim’.

    I totally agree that it DID achieve the standard aim of viral marketing everywhere and get tons of attention. However, most of that attention was from a crowd of people who are, by definition, completely uninterested in seeing their movie.

    This is (forgive the metaphor and gross exaggeration as the viral video in question was actually on topic, if unclear) the viral marketing equivalent of making an action packed, bloody, explosive-laden viral video that looks like its for an action movie, then revealing later that it’s for a documentary about the exciting world of cheese-making.

    The viral video might get a huge following, but mostly not from anyone who cares about cheese-making and when they find out what the goal was, they will lose their interest. They might keep watching that viral video though. I just think its better if your viral marketing is properly targeted. That’s all and I’m sorry for the confusion.

    Anyway, I was trying to think of a way to debate your original Poe’s law statement civilly and keep my views out of it (after all I’m a member of the opposing viewpoint, as it were, who feels very strongly about it and this is not an Atheist/Secular blog and I showed up uninvited) but I do have this to add on that count.

    I rather feel that “Poe’s Law” is an oversimplification of a very common phenomenon. It’s similar to what happens when a comedian tells a joke in a parodying manner and half the audience doesn’t get it because they, in fact, are the ones being parodied. I think this is most likely to happen in any situation where the two sides are in such strong opposition to each other that they find humor in each others’ statements anyway. Half the audience thinks “Haha! Yeah those sure are dumb!” while those are left saying to each other “Hah! Glad to see he’s on our side” or just offended if they got the joke.

    I kind of think that any time there is a situation where two groups are SO strongly opposed that each others’ statements appear absurd. Among one “out-group” the statement is funny. Among the “in-group” the statement is considered “True”.

    Sarcasm is one of the most difficult forms of humor to ‘get’ simply because they are statements that the person telling the joke intends to be exactly the opposite of what he/she actually means. The statement appears at face value to be true if you don’t share insider knowledge or agreement with the one telling the joke. And I’m sure we’ve all failed to ‘get it’ when the person telling the joke wasn’t making it clear they were being sarcastic.

    I’d rather see it changed to “the first rule of sarcasm” or something less:

    A) intentionally divisive of people.

    and..

    B) needlessly restricted to two groups who just happen to have these misunderstandings frequently.

    Regardless, I think it is a sad thing that this principle is used to marginalize or denigrate the people who “don’t get it” no matter what side of what debate they’re on. (In this particular point I feel that the non-religious crowd has abused this unfairly at times and getting the tables turned is perfectly fair)

    I’m all for logical, productive debate and I refuse to pull punches when debating science no matter how impolite it sounds, but coming up with ways to mock a lack of understanding in this manner seems counterproductive to me (this isn’t in reference to this instance of Poe’s Law, but in some of its other uses) as what both sides are (hopefully) trying to achieve is making their point understood.

    Personally, I try to never mock another’s lack of understanding, since lack of understanding is something we should be working against, rather than for. I can’t remember the last time I convinced someone of something by insulting them.

    Willfully refusing to attempt to understand, however… It’s on then! But those are two completely different things.

    Anyway, I’m sorry for being long winded and going off on tangents and committing the “newbie sin” of not reading everything before my post. I just feel that the whole “Poe’s Law” concept is inherently damaging to all involved. (Though I do feel that ridicule has it’s uses. Ridicule for the sake of being hurtful or excluding others just doesn’t cut it.)

  12. Snib

    Oh, and I have to chime in that Kerfuffle is definitely one of the best words ever. It’s one of those words you can’t help hang onto and be pleasantly surprised when you get a chance to wield it on the unsuspecting. :)

    There is nothing like having someone respond with “Wait, did you just say ‘kerfuffle’?” Plus, it’s just fun to say, dangit.

  13. Kliska

    Snib, you present your POV well, and I do agree with a lot of what you are saying. The thing that most “got” me, and interested me with Poe’s Law, and the fundamentalist evolutionist stance is the fact that I feel the video helped bring the fact that there are now indeed “fundamentalist” evolutionists…something that is often denied amongst Darwinian evolutionists.

    I appreciate sarcasm…as long as it is not intentionally cruel; I am a very sarcastic individual, it just goes with my sense of humor. To me, the videos helped bring the changes in “new atheism” into sharp focus while maintaining a wonderful sense of humor about it all.

    In my post, my intent is not to mock someone’s lack of understanding, but rather to state openly 1) that there is indeed such a thing now as a “fundamentalist evolutionist position,” 2) the videos were a well-written, well-executed parody example of that position, 3) that evolutionists’ reactions to the videos underscored this development, and that 4) the videos were indeed put together by the Expelled crew. So, for me, this use of sarcasm and humor by Edmondson, and all involved, was used to enlighten “us” about an important phenomenon.

    Before these vids, there were some Darwinian evolutionists that would deny that Poe’s Law could even apply to their viewpoint. As you point out, plenty of intentionally cruel mocking goes on toward some of us believers for certain beliefs that “outsiders” find amusing. I feel Edmondson and the Expelled crew accomplished their aim without being intentionally hurtful; they did it through humor…humor that neither side felt was cruel (from what I’ve read on each side, anyway).

    Thanks for your thoughts! BTW, I find “piffle” to be another word that is fun to use at appropriate moments…it goes good with a hand wave gesture. :)

  14. Snib

    Ok… now it says my previous comment is awaiting moderation again. It looked like it had been dismissed before.

    If that is the case, then I would like to apologize for my rebuttal as it was uncalled for.

    Obviously, I should get some sleep before posting anymore. I’m clearly more cranky than rational right now.

  15. Kliska

    Snib, due to the nature of my blog, I’m sure you understand that I have to monitor comments; this means they cue up and I go through them one by one. I also am human and have to sleep :) , as well as being a working woman and a wife, I have to see to other things as well…like the joys of laundry.

    Be patient with me, I’ll be sending you an email shortly.

  16. Snib

    I’m very sorry about that.

    Yesterday I was going through some bad things and not feeling so well. My decision making was definitely not at its finest.

    If it’s alright, with your permission I’d like to just recall both of those comments that are awaiting approval as that was just somewhere I should not have gone here and in the way that I did.

  17. Kliska

    Not a problem, I’ve sent ya an email. As I said, I do hope you stick around.

  18. Jaber Aberburg

    Dear “Christian Scribbler”,
    You are completely wrong and here’s why: The point is that any NORMAL argument by the ID crowd is indistinguishable from a parody of their position, because their position is so ludicrous that it (more or less) is a parody in and of itself. Of course it’s possible to make a silly video in such a way that you can’t tell whether it was made by an atheist or a theist, but that doesn’t prove anything. More than anything, this video is tedious and pointless. But note this, this video wasn’t a parody of SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENTS, it was an attempt to mock the (supposed) arrogance of scientists. Scientific arguments are rational, and the truth is that you have no ammunition against them. You don’t stand a chance against scientific argumentation. So, again, yes of course it’s possible to make a video that is such that people can’t tell who it was made by, but the point is you can’t present serious scientific arguments in such a way -whereas “serious” ID arguments, or to put it differently: ID arguments when they are as serious as they get, are indistinguishable from a parody. Do you get it now?

  19. Kliska

    Of course what I get you are saying, it just isn’t logical. ID is indeed a scientific theory, it is more scientific than Darwinian Evolution at this point because Darwinian theorists have long ago departed from science, and the scientific theory.

    The videos were to show that Darwinian Evolution, and many of the people supporting it have indeed crossed the line into fundamentalism, hence it can be subject to Poe’s Law.

  20. Jaber Aberburg

    No, you don’t get what I’m saying and, frankly, I really don’t think there’s any hope of that ever happening. Let me for the record state: ID is not science. There’s a host of literature, and websites, explaining what science is and what evolutionary theory is. People can investigate this for themselves and those who have an open mind and are of sufficient intelligence will get it.

    These videos were, in your words, “to show that Darwinian Evolution, and many of the people supporting it have indeed crossed the line into fundamentalism.” How on earth are videos of two cartoons dancing and singing: “I’m smarter than you,” showing this?

    You’ve made up this criterion: “If it’s possible to make a video such that people watching it will be in doubt whether it was made by an atheist or an ID follower, then evolutionary theory is ‘fundamentalist’. ” The question people reading this should be asking themselves is this: Is this criterion reasonable?

    The depth of your ignorance and your irrationality is simply breathtaking and, to be honest, it makes me sad. To think that human beings, with our capacity for reason (whether or not you believe that God gave us this capacity), can sink to this level of not just ignorance but contempt for knowledge and reason, is just sad. Too bad, you seem like a kind and nice person from the answers you give.

  21. Kliska

    You can come in here and attempt to insult my intelligence if you like, but my writings stand on their own, as well as my degrees from University, I’ll let the other readers decide on their own what kind of IQ I posses. As for my apparent general “ignorance” and “irrationality” it appears my employer doesn’t agree with you; amongst other subjects I teach Logic at the college level. I’m also well versed, at University level in the “natural sciences.”

    The fact is that ID is indeed a scientific theory, but if you’d feel better describing it like this, “ID rests on scientific evidence,” feel free. Darwinian evolution started out that way, but over time it gave up its scientific credentials. Theorists in general that embrace Darwinian Evolution with fervor and a refusal to exam other theories do so out of blind faith and stubbornness, instead of actual evidence.

    You ask how the videos show that Darwinian Evolution (DE) and Evolutionists have crossed the line into fundamentalism. The videos actually show that there are indeed some believers in DE who have crossed that line. They so perfectly captured certain voices within the DE camp that even those people themselves (such as Dick Dawkins) couldn’t even tell which side of the debate the videos came from. Poe’s law (which I did not come up with, BTW) is about fundamentalism. These videos proved that now DE’s can be parodied in such a way that it is very hard to tell if someone is yanking your chain in regards to their DE beliefs or if they are serious.

    Yes, my readers can research both sides of this issue; both DE and ID, and come to their own conclusions. Here’s one blog that tackles some of the questions and assertions you posed: http://www.intelldesign.com/ another good blog: http://www.uncommondescent.com/

    My blog post was strictly about Poe’s Law in relation to DE; it is not meant to tackle the whole spectrum of ID theory.

  22. Aaron

    The point Jaber is trying to make is that if you have someone giving the actual arguments and evidence of evolution, you can easily tell that it is not satire. THAT is the idea of Poe’s Law. The existence of a satirical video that is hard to tell if it’s made by an [intelligent design advocate] or if it’s made an evolution supporter that is not using actual arguments is irrelevant.

  23. Kliska

    I’m well aware of Jaber’s point. The fact is that these videos did showcase Poe’s Law in that they did represent several pieces of the argument put forth by fundamentalist Darwinian evolutionists and naturalists. The videos did this so well, that even those that were fundamentalist Darwinian evolutionists/naturalists either could not decide which side the videos were produced from, or they blatantly claimed them as their own.

  24. Pingback: A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XII | Intelligent Design and More

  25. Gareth Aston

    You repeat the tedious accusation against Dawkins et al of “fundamentalism”, and from your use of it, it is clear you feel that this is an accurate description. Your use of the word is inaccurate to the point of dishonesty (if words are to be used with any relationship to their meaning); it’s merely empty rhetoric. Paul Hill, for example, was a fundamentalist. He was prepared to commit murder in support of his own personal beliefs. Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Dennett (to name the obvious suspects) write books, give lectures and make other public appearances in order to persuade others of their point of view. There is no coercion and they make no threats. Can you really not see the difference, or do you choose to overlook it for the sake of making a very poor argument of convenience rather than of conviction?

  26. Kliska

    “You repeat the tedious accusation against Dawkins et al of “fundamentalism”, and from your use of it, it is clear you feel that this is an accurate description.”

    Absolutely.

    “Your use of the word is inaccurate to the point of dishonesty (if words are to be used with any relationship to their meaning); it’s merely empty rhetoric. Paul Hill, for example, was a fundamentalist. He was prepared to commit murder in support of his own personal beliefs.”

    I think it is your use of the word that is inaccurate, and hardly “empty rhetoric” since it is being used where it fits. Dictionary.com, definition #3 listed for fundamentalism: strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles

    “Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Dennett (to name the obvious suspects) write books, give lectures and make other public appearances in order to persuade others of their point of view.”

    Proselytizing definitely fits within the idea of fundamentalism, as well as deep adherence to an idea/philosophy like naturalism, materialism, Darwinian evolution, etc…

    “There is no coercion and they make no threats. Can you really not see the difference, or do you choose to overlook it for the sake of making a very poor argument of convenience rather than of conviction?”

    You seem to add in your emotions to other people’s thoughts. I don’t believe I spoke of threats or coercion anywhere; those are not a definitional part of fundamentalism at all. As you can see if you really look at word definitions, my argument is indeed a strong one.

    Now, I’d like to ask you why you think that those like Dawkins are so vitriolic when talking about other people’s beliefs? Where does all the hate and false accusations come from, do you think? You know, like calling other people’s religion child abuse, and brainwashing?

    Please do watch your tone, and your choice of words with me if you’d like your comments posted…I tend to react rather badly to being called a liar, even indirectly, and I’m also sure about my own ability of formulate an argument…I teach my college students how to do so all the time.

  27. Gareth Aston

    Apologies! I accidentally hit ‘enter’ when I meant to delete a typo. The following is meant to continue from the previous, incomplete message.

    Your assertion that proselytizing fits in with the definition of fundamentalism doesn’t convince as this would include all religious leaders who proselytize! I wouldn’t want to imply that all preachers are fundamentalists for similar reasons to not wanting to apply the word to Dawkins. It’s too generalised and an imprecise use of the word.

    As for your loaded question, I don’t accept the premise. Give me an example of a statement Dawkins has made that is a hateful “false accusation”. Check your copy of ‘The God Delusion’, if you have one, and you’ll see that Dawkins does not call religion per se child abuse as you claim. Neither does he make generalised accusations of ‘brain washing’ against all religions. In fact I don’t think he even uses the phrase ‘brain washing’ (I may be mistaken). He talks about ‘childhood indoctrination’ if memory serves, which is a considerably less loaded phrase than ‘brain washing’. Odd that you include this immediately after picking me up on adding my emotions to the mix!

    I don’t believe Dawkins is ‘vitriolic’. Passionate certainly, and appalled by the worst excesses of religion (you don’t need me to remind you of these) but vitriolic seems to be overstating your case, just as Dawkins is accused of doing.

    I’m only mildly patronised by you last paragraph, but I’m not going to ask you to watch your tone with me. Give me hell! We aren’t friends and obviously see things very differently. It shouldn’t be surprising that our strong feelings on these matters will influence our tone, and I’m not one of your students looking for a good mark. Neither am I writing an essay, so I don’t feel bound to adhere to the norms of academic discourse. Equally, you are of course completely free to ignore me and you have the power of the censor here. I won’t feel aggrieved if you choose not to continue our discussion, although I hope that you don’t cut me off. However, please don’t mistake my strong feelings for personal feelings of dislike towards you. I’ve got nothing against you. I simply disagree with your characterisation of Dawkins et al and wonder if you really mean what you say. To stretch the definition of ‘fundamentalist’ and put Dawkins in the same category as Osama Bin Laden seems to me to be deeply unfair and I honestly wonder if an intelligent person could really mean that. You do understand the distinction I’m making here don’t you?

    Best wishes and thanks for your reply.

    Gareth

    P.S. Are you a Doctor Who fan? I am, and have been all my life. For me, Tom Baker was the best Doctor. Who is your favourite?

  28. Kliska

    “Your assertion that proselytizing fits in with the definition of fundamentalism doesn’t convince as this would include all religious leaders who proselytize! I wouldn’t want to imply that all preachers are fundamentalists for similar reasons to not wanting to apply the word to Dawkins. It’s too generalised and an imprecise use of the word.”

    From this and the rest of your post, I can’t help but feel that you are equating the term fundamentalist with the term fanatical. For example, you can have a fundamentalist Muslim without them being fanatical. Fanatical Muslims would be the suicide bombers, the leaders that try to form people into suicide bombers, etc… I see a distinct difference between the two even though fundamentalism can lead to fanaticism, but many times it simply does not.

    “Give me an example of a statement Dawkins has made that is a hateful “false accusation”.”

    There’s too many to count. I watch Dawkins being interviewed frequently, and read his interviews so I can’t always label which show I’ve seen him on for each particular quote (or which article they come from). But, if you can’t admit the man is insulting and quite often inaccurate in his religious claims then there is nothing I can do to convince you, but give some examples;

    About the ad campaign, Dawkins says, “This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think — and thinking is anathema to religion” Gareth, look around my blog, look at my about page, someone who says that thinking is anathema to religion is insulting me personally, and they are also making false accusations against religious individuals; namely that we do not think. Some of the sharpest minds known to man had religious beliefs, and shared their thoughts on religion, and every other aspect of life with the world.

    About faith, Dawkins says, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” Wrong again, and again highly insulting. Faith is trusting with great confidence, and confidence rests on evidence, the Christian faith is not blind in the least.

    About raising a child up in the RC faith, Dawkins says, “Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is, I suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of bringing them up Catholic in the first place.” OK, so now Dawkins compares raising a child in the RC faith to the physical abuse, usually sexual molestation, at the hands of a priest. One of the things he links to this mental form of child abuse; the concept of Hell. Hell is serious business, but hardly constitutes child abuse…especially since many parents don’t teach kids any details on Hell till they are old enough to even understand any of it. BTW, I don’t even agree with the RC position, but that doesn’t mean I think it akin to child abuse.

    One more about the ad campaign, Dawkins says, “Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride – automatic tax breaks, unearned ‘respect’ and the right not to be ‘offended’, the right to brainwash children.” Yes because teaching a child about God, and religion is brainwashing.

    Gareth said, “…Odd that you include this immediately after picking me up on adding my emotions to the mix! I don’t believe Dawkins is ‘vitriolic’. Passionate certainly, and appalled by the worst excesses of religion (you don’t need me to remind you of these) but vitriolic seems to be overstating your case, just as Dawkins is accused of doing.”

    Yes, I did bring up emotion because Dawkins is very emotional about all of this, and I did sense some kind of underlying emotional reaction to my claims on your part as well. Dawkins isn’t just talking about “religious excess” at all, but simply raising a child in a way that points to there being a God. I’m not overstating my case if the evidence backs it up.

    My religion teaches us to love even our enemies, so why would I want to “give you hell” if you’re just not my friend? You’re the one that accused me of dishonesty. The only reason I ask for you to watch your tone is that respectful interaction is something I demand on my blog, as well as avoiding covering the same ground in conversation over and over again…which is what will happen if you can’t admit the fact that Dawkins is indeed caustic and scathing (vitriolic) in many of his remarks….would it help if I say, oh, someone like Jerry Falwell could be just as caustic and scathing when he was alive?

    Just note that I certainly never compared Dawkins with Osama Bin Laden. Again, here is another example of what I’m talking about, “I honestly wonder if an intelligent person could really mean that,” in my Logic class I’d peg that as a type of innuendo, or faint praise.

    Yes, I really mean that Dawkins is a fundamentalist; amongst other things he holds on tightly to a set of beliefs, he proselytizes those beliefs on a dogmatic level…and I don’t doubt my intelligence. Again, I sense you think that the term fundamentalist implies something akin to suicide bomber/genocidal madman…it doesn’t.

    As for another of my favourite topics; yes I’m a huge Doctor Who fan; feel free to read some of my blog posts on The Doctor. Baker was my intro to ‘Who through reruns so will always have a place in my heart…but Tennant is the man all the way around, and I shall miss Ten dearly when he leaves.

  29. Gareth Aston

    Hi again and thanks for the reply. Unfortunately you seem only to have received the second half of my previous reply, hence my comment at the start of the text. The missing half outlined my objections to applying the word ‘fundamentalist’ to Dawkins and his ilk. I don’t have the time to go over that again now. Perhaps another time…

    Certainly I see what you mean about Dawkins causing offence, and he’s clearly no stranger to rhetoric himself. However, I do think he has a point about the level of offence taken being disproportionate to the extent of his robust criticisms. But, as Dan Dennett says, there is no polite way of telling someone that you think they’re deluded. However this is expressed, it is going to be offensive to some. Context is important here. The off-the-cuff remark about Roman Catholics was supposed to be a joke. This was apparent to the original audience, who could see Dawkins’ facial expression and pick up on other indicators of humour like tone of voice, but is lost in the context of printed text. In fairness to Dawkins, he didn’t choose to publish the remark, but his critics didn’t hesitate to seize upon it as another example of his militant atheism.

    Sorry, but I’m still rather busy. I’ll try and give you a more detailed reply soon.

    Best Wishes

    Gareth

  30. Kliska

    I don’t really care who is offended and who isn’t…that’s not the fundamental issue here at all. It’s not about the emotion of someone who is or is not offended, it is about whether or not Dawkins’ rhetoric and criticisms are accurate and if they fall within the definition of fundamentalism. I believe they do, and I believe they are not accurate in the least, so therefore are false accusations against religions other than his own beliefs, and religious people from those different backgrounds.

    I do understand that Dawkins and those like him MUST try to convince themselves that all of us believers are some a bunch of un-thinking, illogical ignoramuses in order to avoid seriously looking into the truth about God. If he feels he can dismiss us, then he feels he can dismiss what we believe in as well.

    Again, it is insulting in the extreme for people to toss around terms like “deluded.” Once more, it isn’t the insult that is important, it is what lies behind the insult; and that is a fundamentalist dogmatic view of atheism. Not all atheists are fundamentalists, but Dawkins clearly is. You by-passed the other quotes, and aren’t accurate on the RC quote which I managed to find here; http://richarddawkins.net/article,118,Religions-Real-Child-Abuse,Richard-Dawkins

    Seems Dawkins himself was sexually abused, which does make me feel for him even more, and also adds to my psychological understanding of where some of that anger may spring from.

  31. Martin

    Poe’s Law applied to “Darwinian Evolutionists” would be like this:

    Create a website and fill it with evidence for evolution, but evidence that is only a parody of scientific data and completely wrong. However, make it so realistic that no one can tell if it’s a real scientific website or not. It would continue to baffle.

    However, the fatal flaw in Poe’s Law for “Darwinian Evolutionists” is that any biologist would be able to look at the website and know in an instant that the information it contains is wrong and thus, a parody.

    A parody of fundamentalist religion, however, can hide. Ask a theologian to look at it, and they might be able to find some interpretations of scripture that they disagree with, or some crazy ideas that don’t make sense to them, but it would be difficult if not impossible to CONCLUSIVELY state whether the website is real or a parody.

    In other words, religion seems to vary from person to person, while scientific laws are constant.

    2 + 2 = 5 is clearly incorrect, but what about “Jesus abolished the Law” ? If someone said that, are they serious, or not? No way to tell for sure.

    • Kliska

      That would be one example, but Poe’s Law is in no way restricted to say, a website. The idea behind Poe’s Law for Darwinian Evolutionists, isn’t just that it is a parody of the scientific theory behind it, but rather the fundamentalist way that some adherents are now starting to present it. Hence, the video being a good example. As I pointed out, not even the likes of Dawkins could tell if the video was an attempt at a real representation, or a parody. The ideas behind Poe’s Law isn’t specific claims, but a certain way of interpretation and especially presentation of those claims by individual humans that takes on a fundamentalist tone.

  32. Father Time

    Stop using the guilt by association fallacy, if some people who think evolution is right do something stupid doesn’t mean you get to dismiss all of them or associate all of them with those individuals.

    I don’t associate you with every idiot fundy out there.

    • Kliska

      Sorry, I’m not using an ad hominem. The point of the blog post is about how atheism/Darwinism now has a fundamentalist branch that can be “subjected to Poe.” Dawkins happens to be one of the proselytizers.

  33. Father Time

    “bout faith, Dawkins says, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” Wrong again, and again highly insulting. Faith is trusting with great confidence, and confidence rests on evidence, the Christian faith is not blind in the least.”

    Oh really what evidence do you have that not only is there a God but there’s heaven, hell and said God wrote the Bible? Really?

    Don’t forget that the followers of Zeus, Thor, Scientology were and are just as serious in their beliefs as you are.

    • Kliska

      Start reading the rest of my blog posts, especially the ones in Apologetics. Read up about the Disciples, the Messiah prophecies, the reliability of the Bible, etc… then get back to me in whichever blog post you have questions about, as long as you do so according to the rules of my blog. Those posts will point you to evidence anyone can dig into. There’s also personal evidence, of which I have in abundance, but most skeptics dismiss personal evidence out of hand, so I say, for you, for now, stick with the “objective” evidence and go from there. It takes time and effort to seriously study anything.

      As for the other religions, yes, there are followers who are just as serious, but that seriousness doesn’t make them right. One must examine the evidence, and take a logical look at the claims.

  34. deejay

    Hello! First, a quick introduction: I am well aware of Poe’s Law, but just now looked to see what a Google search of the term would turn up for someone unfamiliar with the term. This page turned up high on the first page of results, and I checked it out.

    I’ve read the entry and all the comments. I was delighted to see Mike Edmondson show up, as I’ve been following the stories surrounding “Expelled” for months prior to the movie’s release. Mike made a terrifically entertaining video and succeeded at the task of attracting attention to his products.

    There are many issues I’d love to discuss should you feel they warrant your time, but I’ll limit my first comment to one or two points. Yes, it’s thoroughly possible that one might find Dawkins’ methods and comments “caustic and scathing”. However, he could be ten times more caustic and scathing, and that would do nothing to change the evidence for modern evolutionary theory. You do understand this, don’t you?

    Oops, apparently not. I just did a reread of the comments to find some of your specific words regarding Dawkins, and I realized that I had somehow completely missed your exchange with Jaber. Oh, dear, this is really bad: “Of course what I get you are saying, it just isn’t logical. ID is indeed a scientific theory, it is more scientific than Darwinian Evolution at this point because Darwinian theorists have long ago departed from science, and the scientific theory.”

    Wow. I just might be the first to introduce you to another wonderful internet term that comes up in the discussion of the merits of apologetics: fractally wrong. As in “wrong at every conceivable level of resolution.” Such fractal wrongness in the above quote almost inevitably precludes any attempt to focus the discussion on a particular issue. Oh, well. I did have such hopes for a thoughtful discussion.

    Nonetheless, I’ll try, and again, I’ll try to keep things focused. You claim to be “well versed, at the University level, in the natural sciences.” If so, you are no doubt aware of the role of scientific journals in the advance of scientific knowledge. Why is there essentially zero discussion of “intelligent design” in scientific journals, and absolutely zero original, peer-reviewed research even mentioning intelligent design, yet it somehow in your view has achieved the status of scientific theory?

    It’s a fair question, isn’t it?

    deejay

    • Kliska

      First, if you keep up with the condescending attitude, you can save your time on replies because they will not be approved. Secondly, your comments hint that you believe that ID has a neutral audience in people that review for the mainstream scientific journals. This is simply not the case. The Darwinist biased is so extreme at this point, ID simply cannot get a fair shake. Look at what happens when scientists, professors, and even journals risk the wrath of the Darwinists in positions of power; the outcome is not good for the IDers, or the people willing to give them scientific consideration. No, the mainstream Darwinian evolutionists have their golden calf of a theory, and guard it enthusiastically, even when observable science contradicts, or pokes holes in the theory.

      Besides this, you miss the point of the blog post entirely. The idea isn’t that Dawkins is caustic and scathing, which he is, the idea is that there is indeed a fundamentalist branch of Darwinism now, which can be subject to Poe’s Law, which the video’s and the response to the videos shows quite nicely. Dawkins wouldn’t be so “amusing” if he were just caustic and scathing, but the fact that he insists he’s against “brainwashing” and pushing philosophies and ideas on people yet still insists on proselytizing his position to anyone who’ll listen puts it over the edge. As a believer, however, I do feel for him, and hope that he comes to Christ before his time comes…Dawkins could find a lot of peace in The Truth, as can anyone that comes to Christ.

  35. deejay

    Thanks for publishing my comment and responding to it. I do appreciate your concerns about tone, and will do my best to stay restrained.

    For the record, I did get the point of the original post; that’s why I wanted to comment in the first place. What you wrote in the original post was indeed thoroughly coherent, and in many ways I was impressed. And surprised. As someone who has seen several years’ worth of creationist critiques of evolutionary theory, I fully admit that I sometimes lapse into the mindset you ably described in one of your comments, thinking “that anyone even associated with the movie Expelled, no matter in what capacity, wouldn’t be smart enough to write the rap, sing it, or animate it so well.” I know that such thinking is erroneous, but it can be hard to avoid. When people are so thoroughly wrong on one issue, it’s easy to question their competence, let alone skill, at anything else.

    Again, I know this is wrong. I’m indeed quite confident that you possess great skills in arenas in which I can only aspire to competence. I certainly don’t accept the idea of intelligence as a universal concept. At the very least it’s broken down into different skill sets, some of which are distinct, some of which overlap. And just as our skills in one set can sometimes overlap with others, our weaknesses can as well.

    I’ll be blunt and tell you that one of your weaknesses is a lack of understanding of the scientific method, how it is practiced, and how it has produced modern evolutionary theory. And however coherent your original post may have been, your weakness in science has undermined the very points you set out to make in your original post.

    Your thesis that Poe’s Law can be applied to “fundamentalist Darwinians” just as easily as it can to creationists depends on a certain degree of equivalence between the two categories. The problem is that equivalence simply isn’t there. This goes well beyond problems with the word “fundamentalist,” which have already been addressed. What’s happening is that each of your successive attempts to define exactly what a “fundamentalist Darwinian” is in your comments have gone beyond mere strawmen, and into the realm of imagination.

    Look, I don’t want to be condescending; I just want to point out an error. I’m happy to clarify things further if you like. I’m also happy to point you to other sources as well. Apparently you work at a college, which puts a tremendous resource at your disposal. There are biology professors with whom you could discuss your concerns about potential bias in science and the merits of ID. I probably don’t need to remind you that about 30% of biologists also share a belief in a god. Not many of them act like Dawkins, and in fact you just might be surprised how willing they are to discuss your concerns with you. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that not only are most academic biologists smarter than I am, they’re nicer as well. ;)

    • Kliska

      I’ll be blunt and tell you that one of your weaknesses is a lack of understanding of the scientific method, how it is practiced, and how it has produced modern evolutionary theory. And however coherent your original post may have been, your weakness in science has undermined the very points you set out to make in your original post.

      Once more, I’m not just talking about tone here, but condescension itself. You seem to have it in your head that anyone who disagrees with Darwinian evolution automatically must not know anything “scientific” about it, or ID, or Creationism for that matter. I can only tell you that your assumption is flat out wrong. Just as one example, I had an anthropology prof at the University level whose class most people avoided like the plague. Why? Because it required intelligence just to keep up with him, let alone to get a passing grade in the class. This prof loved evolution, Darwin, and was dedicated to the idea of common descent. By the end of the semester, this prof was begging me to join his grad program and yes, I aced the class. The interesting thing is, he had no clue that I completely disagreed with all his “facts” and dates, and charts and thus sought me out, what do you think he’d have done if I’d have told him precisely what I thought of all his supposed fossil evidences and the like? We’ll never know. I was far too intelligent to ruin my chances of getting into grad school at that same university by showing my hand. This same thing happened in physics classes, chemistry, biology, archaeology, etc…

      I’m well acquainted with evolutionary theory, the scientific method, materialism, atheism, naturalism, etc… etc… etc… Take it as bragging and arrogance if you like. The plain truth is that it gets tiring having Darwinian evolutionists acting like you must be a drooling idiot in the science department if you don’t lock step with everyone else.

      Your thesis that Poe’s Law can be applied to “fundamentalist Darwinians” just as easily as it can to creationists depends on a certain degree of equivalence between the two categories. The problem is that equivalence simply isn’t there.”

      Sure it is.

      This goes well beyond problems with the word “fundamentalist,” which have already been addressed. What’s happening is that each of your successive attempts to define exactly what a “fundamentalist Darwinian” is in your comments have gone beyond mere strawmen, and into the realm of imagination.”

      Sorry, that doesn’t line up with the situation. I can hardly be accused of making a straw man out of my own position. What I present in my definitions are explanations of how the term “fundamentalist” has come to be used in modern times. It does not only refer to that narrower definition of a certain Christian movement any more. The very fact that Darwinian evolutionary theory, and its proponents can be fit into Poe’s law is one bit of evidence for that.

      Apparently you work at a college, which puts a tremendous resource at your disposal.

      I teach at at a college, yes; logic, philosophy, sociology, psychology…

      There are biology professors with whom you could discuss your concerns about potential bias in science and the merits of ID.”

      I’ve discussed ID and evolution with people from many different backgrounds, and education levels, including biology teachers…and I can read too.

      Yes, my anthro prof. We got along really well, and had the same sense of humor, he was Irish too, so I got to hear all about australopithecus in a wonderful Irish accent. The funny thing was, what really made us hit it off at first was the fact that I was the only student in the class that got his joke gleaned from the Bible… at the end of a particularly grueling lecture he muttered, “I’m done casting my pearls,” to dismiss us. I cracked up quite noticeably, unfortunately for them, no one else did…

  36. deejay

    “I’m done casting my pearls”

    So I’m swine, then, I take it. ;)

    Shall we continue? I’d be absolutely delighted to, but of course it’s your blog, your post your topic, and the last word is yours if you’d like it now.

    • Kliska

      No, the point was that the class was “swine,” (from the prof’s sarcastic POV) and it amused me that a Biblical reference went over everyone’s head except mine and my Evolutionist Professor’s, which is how we spotted each other’s humor.

      deejay, here’s the problem; this blog post is not about the scientific merits of ID, nor even that of Darwinian evolution. This post is about how Darwinian evolutionists have reached a point of fundamentalism that can fall into Poe’s Law if parodied effectively. These videos did just that, to the point that people from the Darwinist camp enthusiastically claimed them as their own for awhile. If you want to comment more on that, then comment away.

  37. deejay

    Thanks for the clarification on the joke, but believe it or not, I caught all that the first time through. Perhaps you didn’t quite catch the reasons for my wink, were a little bit more subtle. I’ll be happy to deconstruct my joke for you, but that would take away all the humor.

    Which brings us back to the themes of your original post. Humor, like that in the video, can work on different levels. You think there’s such a thing as a Darwinian fundamentalist, so you found the video funny for your reasons. I found it funny for mine. And I’d much rather live in my world than in yours.

    Thanks again for posting my comments and replying to them. Peace out.

    • Kliska

      We believers are often accused of ad hominem attacks when that’s not what is going on at all; I wanted to make it clear to my readers, not just yourself, that I wasn’t, in fact, calling you a swine.

      I didn’t just find the video funny, I found the reactions to it very telling indeed, on both sides of the issue. We both live in the same world, but we do indeed see things differently, though that is why we construct arguments in order to support our various POV’s, as I’ve done in the blog post, as well as in my replies.

      I hope you stick around the blog to read my other posts as well, and on topic comments and questions are always welcome.

  38. Father Time

    “Read up about the Disciples, the Messiah prophecies, the reliability of the Bible,”
    Just because parts of a work are true doesn’t make the whole thing true.

    Watch

    The Us has 50 states
    Poseidon and the flying spaghetti monsters are real
    2+2=4
    Shakespeare wrote Hamlet
    There are 4 Indiana Jones movies

    I can keep adding true statements for the rest of my life and publish them in the book. It would still not make the second line any more valid.

    • Kliska

      You have a glaring logical fallacy in your example; we can research the evidence for the various claims put forth to find out if they are supported or not. There is no evidence that actually backs up the idea that Poseidon and the FSM are real. Also, are you making the claim that all those statements are true? If you are, and it turns out they are not, then that also tells us something about the author of those claims. As another example of you glossing over the point; you discount the fact of various prophecies, specific prophecies recorded in scripture, actually come to pass. If you start making very very specific predictions, and they start happening, you’ll become famous pretty quickly; good luck with that. The Bible has been shown to be inherently accurate, historically accurate, prophetically accurate, archaeologically accurate, etc… in its different books, across many different authors.

      You also do not touch upon the other evidences presented that in fact Jesus Christ did indeed exist, He was crucified, and He did indeed rise. You can read about various apologetics in my different blog posts. The conclusion that God exists, and that Christ lived, was crucified, and rose is based on solid premises that can be examined.

  39. Father Time

    Kliska you’re missing my point. Just because the Bible has some true stuff in it does not make every single line true. Even if it did have true prophecies that does not make it’s claims of heaven and hell and whatnot any more valid. I can write one lie between 3000 lines of truth and prophecies and if all the prophecies turn out to be accurate that doesn’t make that one lie true.

    • Kliska

      No, you are missing the overall point; whatever you want to check out in the Bible, the available evidence backs it up. The question you have to answer is “Who do you say Christ is?” The available evidence suggests that Christ is Lord; that He lived, was crucified and rose again. That is what you have to decide. The rest is interesting, but salvation depends upon your relationship with Christ. As I said; check out the biblical claims; history backs it, fulfilled prophecy backs it, archaeology backs it, the books are inherently accurate, etc… The bible makes certain claims about itself, as Christ made about Himself. Thus far, those claims are supported by the evidence, including manuscript and textual evidence. If you have an invalid claim or prophecy in your list, yet you claim they are all accurate, that tells me something about your claims, and you as the author. Thus far, there has not been an invalid claim or prophecy in the Bible.

  40. Father Time

    What’s the archeological evidence of the 40 year trek of the Jews?

  41. Father Time

    How about evidence of the plagues of Egypt?

    Or let’s play hardball.

    Evidence of hell or heaven.

  42. Father Time

    Sorry for the triple post but
    “The conclusion that God exists, and that Christ lived, was crucified, and rose is based on solid premises that can be examined.”

    How can you possibly prove that a guy who lived 2000 years ago rose from the dead?

  43. Father Time

    you know what never mind, it’s gotten off topic as it is.

    • Kliska

      Sorry, been busy. Ok, you still have this odd stance that you cannot trust the reliability of the Biblical record. You are treating those historical records categorically different than other historical records, documents, manuscripts, eye witness accounts, etc…. Read my post: Reliability of the Bible if you like. And one of my discussions on the resurrection: Apologetics: The Disciples.

      Here’s a link on archaeological aspects of the Bible for you, even though you do recognize this is off topic at this point, part one is there as well. Archaeology and the Bible, part 2

  44. kyle

    Poe’s law doesn’t apply. the vid is obviously satire. whether it is a satire of how the the ID hypothesis fellows view science community or of the science community itself. note that the view must be lobotomized not to understand the position of its creators. but most of all, the satire would have to represent the view accurately. I suggest you amend your post.

    • Kliska

      What I find so amusing about your comment is that it is basically saying folks like Dawkins, who could not tell it was a satire, must be lobotomized. Your comment is one of those cases of perfect hindsight; now that everyone and their dog know that Mike was indeed employed by the Expelled folks, it is “obvious” which side it was for. At the time the video was released, which I was “there” for, both sides were discussing the video and claiming it as their own.

      Also, the fact that many from the Darwinist camp believed the video was pro-Darwinian evolution shows that it did a pretty decent job representing the Darwinist view of IDer’s accurately…esp. since most Darwinists have a tendency to believe anyone who does not buy into the Darwinist line must obviously lack even basic scientific knowledge, which the vid clearly satired to good effect.

  45. eric blair

    If the film is clearly satire then by definition “Poe’s Law” is not applicable in its simplest form. (As I am lead to believe unless the satire is difficult to distinguish from an argument it is not an example of “Poe’s Law”).

    I find it difficult to believe that anyone would view this video and not conclude that it is a satirical piece. So if its satire were to be universally accepted, the only question is who is being satirised by who?

    I am told that this work has been produced by believers in Intelligent Design therefore, considering its content it appears to be simple satire.
    Richard Dawkins’ inability to tell which side of the argument the film makers where on, appears to be an illustration of the potential to satirise a satire.

    The difficulty Dawkins had in distinguishing the target of the satire, perhaps indicates we need a new “compound definition” or perhaps “exponential definition” of “Poe’s Law”.

    So… “Poe’s Law” squared anyone?
    Or, if THIS is a joke is it “Poe’s Law” cubed? ;-)

    • Kliska

      Nope, not a joke…and it is an example of Poe. Why? Because it has to do with fundamentalism and adherents to a belief system; in this case it is so spot on as far as fundamentalist Darwinism and its adherents are concerned, many could not tell if it was actually from the fundamentalist POV, or not. It was not, so was a “successful Poe” in my estimation.

  46. Jane Hili

    I think you don’t seem to understand why evolution proponents, including Dawkins, couldn’t tell whether or not the YouTube video was produced by someone on their side. They couldn’t tell whether it was supposed to be a satire of Dawkins and the “new” atheists by the ID camp or a satire of what ID proponents think of Dawkins done by an evolutionist. That is because ID proponents have a terrible record of parodying evolution to make it look stupid — that is nearly their only argument. Thus, it is nearly impossible to tell a satire from a satire of a satire.

    • Kliska

      Actually, they explained themselves why they couldn’t tell who produced it; those in favor of the view presented therein or those opposed.

      • Roger

        Original link please (if available). Specifically I ask for the link to the (full) Dawkins quote you mention above… as I have seen youtube videos by ID proponents who carefully edit Dawkins and take him out of context to give a false impression. I’m not saying that you personnally are doing that – but others have – and I therefore have a strong tendency to doubt ID’ers claims in regards to Richard Dawkins thanks to that history. I’m not really interested in some random goober who said something on a blog… I’d really like to see how, as you claim, Dawkins himself was fooled by the videos. That would be remarkable.

      • Kliska

        Here was my reply above to someone else,

        “Actually, the reaction showed that it demonstrated what a great many naturalists think about themselves. As I monitored the various message boards (including Dawkins’ and Myers’ ) the naturalists were crowing, and saying that anyone even associated with the movie Expelled, no matter in what capacity, wouldn’t be smart enough to write the rap, sing it, or animate it so well.

        They were also fairly disappointed when it was revealed that the Expelled crew was behind it. There were several with a good sense of humor that congratulated Mike and everyone else involved for the vids.

        Dawkins said on his website, early on, “I don’t know what to say about this…” and, “…just tell me whose side it’s on.” (That’s cheatin’ Dawkins, and it shows that he indeed felt it was possible it was supposed to be supporting him and his position, though he doesn’t like rap.) You can also read a lot of comments from the various disciples of the lead proselytizing atheists on Dawkins’ board, Myers’ board, etc… “Awesome,” “clearly pro-science,” “a scientific appeal to the younger generation (through rap music),” etc…

        Many comments set up a “weasler” in that they left themselves a way out if they were wrong, “Well, I think it’s pro-Dawkins, but if not, it still shows that Dawkins rules and that he is raising people’s consciousness…” It did work great as a wonderful example of Poe’s law.

        I think you can still find it on Dawkins’ website and perhaps some on Myers’ as well.

        As for the other issue of respect, you may feel I myself was disrespectful, however, I’d point out that, as I mention in other places, this is my blog and if someone wants to come into my territory and be insulting to me, that’s fine, but they shouldn’t expect it to get posted as it is my blog and my words stand for themselves. It isn’t a matter of whether or not I could point out your logical fallacies with all the labels of formal logic, I could. It is a matter of someone coming onto my blog and behaving in a disrespectful manner toward me, the owner and writer of this blog. If I were somewhere else discussing such things, I get disrespected from time to time, but I expect that outside of my own house, so to speak.

      • Pedro Amaral Couto

        Kliska, I read those message boards. It’s true some wrote things like «So who was the Creator? Obviously not a Creationist.» and «Seems rather pro-science to me.». But I also find things like «Its either an attempt to “discredit” science, or a clever parody of the creationist position.»
        “Dr. Benway” uses the term “Poe’s Law” in this context: (my husband) «thought it was lampooning atheists, not Expelled’s hyper-evil representation of atheists. I can see his take on it, which is more straightforward than the parody of a parody I imagined. But then I go, “But surely the ID crowd sees this doesn’t help their side…do they feel their audience is that dim? Is it that dim? Naw… Maybe?»

        If you read the discussion between Dawkins and other users, he’s saying he don’t understand the idea that a video is well done when we don’t understand its purpose, comparing it with South Park.

        Regards.

      • Kliska

        Pedro, I don’t remember ever getting any replies from you like that, so you may have gotten put into the spam folder automatically, sorry if that was the case…I don’t know why but sometimes if there are a lot of links to vids, wordpress thinks it is spam…it’s happened before.

        As I said, I totally understand that there are people that could clearly see that it was ID-backed; my husband and I were two of those people. But, there was a large segment of the population that viewed the videos that could not tell. There were several theories, as has been discussed here. My point is this; it is the exact same with other examples of Poe’s law; all the same perspectives are represented in a discussion of the sites, it just didn’t have anything to do with the Christian Religion in this case. Anyway, it was a fun time, while it was new, to read all the replies and discussion about the video! Also, Dawkins was confused, not just because he didn’t understand the purpose, but because he couldn’t tell “which side” the video was from as well.

      • Roger

        …and if Dawkins truly was confused in the manner you suggest (rather than wondering what level of satire he was looking at), then that clearly was a failure on his part. I guess I’ll stop praying to him. haha

      • Kliska

        Roger, my semester has started I’ve been caught up in all the instructor prep for the new impressionable students! Ha. That is the reason for my absence, and I’ll get around to other people’s comments as I can…I don’t like to just approve comments and not comment back, so it takes me longer than most.

        As for our faith discussion here under this post, everyone has faith in and on something…it just depends what the object of that faith is. For many materialists and naturalists their faith rests upon human thought and blind nature. Observable science is just that; you can literally observe, say chemical reactions, and repeat the experiments…theoretical science is a whole ‘nother breed of cat. The problem with theoretical pursuits is that presupposition and bias can and do creep in when the observed evidence is taken as a starting point and then human theory is added in on top of it; the problems don’t come in with the actual physical evidences of things (though certain evidence can either be pursued or ignored based on human presupposition/bias), they come in with the human interpretations of those evidences. So, it comes down to faith on all sides of the issue.

        I’ve come to place my faith in God in Christ because of the evidence that I see and have researched…evidence that is available to everyone, esp. to those who seek. But, we are bit off topic of this blog post. Everyone feel free to delve into my “apologetics” section further and comment away! ;)

      • Pedro Amaral Couto

        Kliska, you’ve said with Poe’s Law you “can’t tell the difference between a parody of fundamentalism and the real thing”. Since the Beware of the Believers is an example of that law, we find those two hypothesis – and I agree.
        The clip is mocking atheists and evolutionists – do you agree?

      • Kliska

        Pedro, I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say it is mocking, but the video is showing the extreme side to certain naturalists/materialists through some awesome animation and humorous music.

      • Pedro Amaral Couto

        Kliska, thanks for the response. I agree the animation is awesome and the music is humorous, but I want to make a point on why the confusion arose. Notice I agree it’s an example of Poe’s Law and I will use it for a portuguese article as such (that’s how I found this blog).

        You say it’s not mocking. Imagine if it was a creationist character saying: «My name is D to the I to C to the K, Yeah I’m the Dickie D» … «just listen to me and don’t you argue» … «Yeah he’s the Dick to the Doc to the phd, he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!» … «On the shoulders of midgets we built up this machine» … «YOU DON’T KNOW DICK!!»
        Why would a creationist embrace a clip with a message like that?

        Regards

      • Kliska

        The people behind the video, including those behind the movie Expelled don’t associate themselves with the Creationist camp…and not all involved are even Christians. The main idea is a difference between scientists and thinkers from the Darwinist position and the scientists and thinkers from the Intelligent Design position (ID is not Creationism, nor does it try to define the Designer). One of the biggest contentions from the Darwinist camp is that anyone who is an IDer can’t be a real scientist, nor have an understanding of “real” science, etc… If you follow Dawkins at all, you know that he doesn’t have a problem touting his own credentials and putting down the thought processes and IQ’s of those who believe there is a Designer.

        As for me, I find the rap hilarious because of the things I’ve heard people like Dawkins and his supporters say…it is a humorous representation from my perspective, it’s witty, amusing, and uses puns…all these things I enjoy. I do even find humor in people’s sarcastic treatment of certain positions and people I like and admire, though there is a limit…I don’t think the vids crossed the line in the least, and most people from both camps found some humor in them.

      • Pedro Amaral Couto

        Sorry, Kliska, but I never found Dawkins doing that. I never learned what are his credentials and IQ from him. You should give at least an example to support what you’ve said. You say you have degrees from University” and teach Logic at the college level, but I would not dare to accuse you of appeal of authority for that. I sent a message to Michael Edmondson a year ago and read some interviews about the clip and I know the members of Float On Films “don’t associate themselves with the Creationist camp”.

        Anyway, to the point. I thought you would answer to those questions to make you understand my point-of-view. There are many jokes on atheists, like «hell if I was dyslexic I’d even hate “dog” too». In the introduction there’s a machine to censor scientists – «Big gadget, this is little tool. We’ve got ourselves a situation». I think it’s clear the atheists and evolutionists are the joke in that clip. So I ask: if it was a video with creationists or ID proponents as characters to make fun of themselves, do you think the ID supporters would react like the atheists and evolutionists did? I think an answer to that question is important to make a point on Poe’s Law.

      • Kliska

        I’ve watched many interviews with Dawkins and you can about take your pick…the idea that he’s presenting is that anyone that denies Darwinism is no scientist, and esp. if you are insane enough to believe ID (here’s a famous quote of his, “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”) All I have to do is call attention to the title of his book, “The God Delusion.” The implication is fairly obvious and is aimed at, not any individual, but at anyone who believes in God. I’m also a licensed counselor and my MS is in Counseling Psych, I know what a delusion is, and it isn’t a positive thing. A delusion is a false belief held despite evidence to the contrary; Dawkins has the self-pride to come out and declare anyone who believes in God to be delusional. Not only that, but he goes around equating teaching children about certain aspects of religion, or calling them a “Christian child” (though I’ve personally never heard that done) as being on the same level of child abuse, such as molestation. Dawkins loves rhetoric.

        Poe’s Law was originally coined about Christian-related things like websites and/or posts. Some sites are mocking, some are to make a point, some are kinda amusing. You will find people produce things to show Poe’s law that are within the range of acceptable humor, and some that are outside of it. I don’t believe Edmondson, nor the makers of Expelled crossed the line with their vids. I’m sure there are atheists that cross the line, and I’m sure there are IDers, Creationists, etc… that also cross the line of decorum, I just don’t see that happening here. What made it more…amusing was the fact that it apparently wasn’t clear to a fairly large group of people that the atheists and the evolutionists were “the joke” as you put it, in that clip, so there was some reaction from that side of things from the ID camp too.

      • Roger

        Fair enough. I imagine that I wouldn’t run such a tight ship (perhaps unwisely)… but it is your prerogative, you are correct.

  47. Roger

    I think it is worth looking at the actual definition of fundamentalism. According to Merriam-Webster it is: “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles” (I’m leaving out the definition that deals strictly with Christian Protestantism). I think when many people use the word “fundamentalism” (myself included) we often actually mean “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles regardless of contradicting evidence”. Fundamentalism, by this other definition, is faith based rather than evidence based… and therefore can ignore evidence. Which definition is meant here?

    • Kliska

      That has been covered previously, and I believe that Dawkins and the other fundamentalist atheists have gotten to the point where they do push an adherence based on faith. Fundamental atheism is based on faith, as are other belief systems. You can have fundamentalism without delusion, and fundamentalism with delusion; delusion being a false belief held in spite of evidence to the contrary.

      As for your other reply, it was deleted for lack of respect. Perhaps if you did have a good basic logic class, such as the one I teach, you wouldn’t make logical fallacies as you did in your other reply. If you want to ask again, respectfully, I’ll speak to your assertions.

      • Pedro Amaral Couto

        Kliska,
        I keep receiving the new comments for this blog post although I don’t find the comment I sent on April. You replied to one of the comments saying you deleted it because “it was deleted for lack of respect”. I explained what’s the Poe’s Law and used some links to YouTube videos and Richard Dawkins official website to show my point – I don’t know if that’s why my comment was removed. If you deleted it and you remember it, I would like to know why it was removed. Regards.

      • Kliska

        My rules for my blog are linked under “respect” at the top of the page. There are several reasons why comments are not added, including repetition of information (if your comment or question has already been addressed), lack of respect, off topic, proselytizing against Christianity (or linking to sites/videos that do), etc… Also, it has happened that someone’s message winds up in spam and I don’t catch it. I don’t remember your reply, but if you wish to ask a question about the blog post, feel free and I’ll review it anew.

      • Pedro Amaral Couto

        Thanks for the reply. I’ll try to write something like I sent before without the links.
        I’m a YouTube user and found many people arguing or praising satires, like Jesusophile, EdwardCurrent, SoldierInGodsArmy, Theologikos and theraptureright. An example of Poe’s Law: the user thequestionmarkofGod made a video criticizing the site Objective: Ministries as if it was a real proselytising site. I remember some YouTube users hypothesized that VenomFangX was a parody character.

        I watched “Richard Dawkins: Beware the Believers” and read the comments since day 1. There was a discussion about the nature of the video. This was discussed even on Richard Dawkins official website. The discussion was if it was made by an atheist acting as a creationist (for instance, making fun of Dawkins) or a creationist who made the video to make fun of atheists. Was it a Jesusophile kind of video or a VenomFangX kind of video? What’s the meaning of “the real thing” here?

  48. Roger

    I have a faith that the world is rational and that phenomena follow consistent physical and mathematical laws… and therefore that observations of these phenomena can be repeated and confirmed (or, alternatively, falsified [shown to be false]). This sort of faith is based on a life-time of experience that supports it – and is shared by probably most scientists. If I started seeing Harry Potter type magic or ghosts or something unexplainable by natural laws as I understand them it might shake my “faith” as it were (and I would have to at least adjust my view of what is in nature). I do not think that this sort of faith in the world being consistent and observable is the same as faith in things unseen (religion). The are both faith, yes – but one is faith in rationality and consistency and evidence, the other is faith in forces unseen and without evidence. Do some believe evolution in the fanatical way that you describe (unwillingness to accept contradictory evidence, should it be presented)? Probably so. I suspect that all common views on all common topics have a “true-believer” element that are not open minded.

    I’m not saying that there is no God – science remains silent on the issue. (no evidence either way – being that God, by definition, falls outside the natural, observable world).

    • Kliska

      But you see, my faith, and many other believers’ faith in God is indeed based on the evidence. So, when Dawkins goes poetic about the God Delusion, it makes no logical sense. I do believe that there are those in the Darwinist evolution camp that believe what they do because they have not seriously looked at the evidence for the other perspectives, they would not, by definition be delusional. I also believe that there are those in the Darwinist evolution camp that hold on to their belief in the face of contradictory evidence for other than logical reasons, in that case you can have fundamental belief with delusion. Most naturalists/materialists will not see it that way, of course, or else they would not be naturalists/materialists.

      I do believe your level of faith is indeed faith in the unseen…and faith in fallible humankind as well.

      • Roger

        hmm… well, we’re in general agreement about most of what you said in your first paragraph (though we appear to have a different definition of evidence… as I am unaware of any [scientific] evidence of ID)… that said, you lost me when you say: “I do believe your level of faith is indeed faith in the unseen”. What do you mean? What is the unseen thing that I have faith in? To all evidence the world IS rational… to believe that things I have not seen yet (China, for example) follow the same rules as I see everything else follow, is the smallest kind of faith I can think of. Is that what you refer to? To me it is so basic it is like the faith that I have that if I jump that I will land a short moment later… I have zero reason to think that I might suddenly float away into space. If you define this is faith, then I think all is faith and you might as well abandon the word as not actually meaning anything. Please explain. Thanks. As to my faith in mankind – well, to what do you refer? Science allows for any test to be repeated by others… I don’t have to have faith in others… and, indeed, sometimes discoveries are quickly overturned due to lack of faith by other scientists (cold fusion, for example). There is no need for faith in others in science. Religion based on eyewitness accounts, on the other hand, rely on nothing but faith in others… the Biblical accounts are, for the most part, untestable. …and indeed, sometimes contradictory with known outside sources and within itself. (which is not, by the way, at all unusual with eyewitness accounts)

  49. Roger

    I did not mean disrespect to you as a person. You seem like an intelligent person. I attacked some of your ideas and pointed out what I felt were logical fallacies… that is not the same thing as disrespecting you (or at least I don’t think so). Indeed, I believe it is a sign of respect to deal with you frankly. I believe that you can handle it. I am disappointed that you deleted my post – I did not keep a copy nor do I intend to try to recreate it in full. Let’s just say here is the basic gist: I saw through the videos immediately as being bankrolled and possibly written by the ID camp… therefore your assertion that “Their video demonstrates that you can’t tell a parody of Fundamentalist Darwinism from a display of the real thing!” is false. I suspect (based on how easy it was for me) that there are plenty of others who would come to the same conclusion about the source of the videos. One could conclude that a more correct statement would be: “Their video demonstrates that some people can’t tell a parody of Fundamentalist Darwinism from a display of the real thing!” This is hardly earth shaking as there are many many things that some of us can’t do.

    • Kliska

      As far as being able to tell, I can also tell when a fundamentalist of the Christian persuasion is being parodied, I’ve had practice on the ‘net for quite some time. That does not take away from Poe’s Law if a couple of people get it right. It is hard to talk about the videos, in some respects, so long after the mystery was solved, you kind of had to be around for all the debate going on on all the various message boards and on youtube itself to really get the full affect (and amusement) of everyone talking and debating the origin and intent of the vids.

      • Roger

        Perhaps I did have to be there. (It was new to me). According to Conservapedia (not normally a resource for me – but perhaps for you [and it came up high in my search]): “Poe’s Law has two meanings. The first meaning mocks fundamentalist opinions, stating that some fundamentalist views are so extreme or absurd that they are indistinguishable from parody. The second meaning concerns those who read such views on the internet, stating that, no matter what absurd statement is made, “SOMEONE”, somewhere, will fall for it.”

        So – by those definitions you are completely consistent with the second definition, and I am consistent with the first definition. So – I guess it would have helped if we were on the same page to begin with. Oops. :-) (score half a point to each of us). I ask your forgiveness for claiming a fallacy where there wasn’t one (based on the definition of Poe’s Law that you were using).

  50. Pedro Amaral Couto

    The source of your quote: April 9, 1989, Sunday, Late City Final Edition Section 7; Page 34, Column 2; Book Review Desk. We can easily find the full review using Google. I read a portuguese translation of “The God Delusion”. After that, a few weeks ago, I wrote a comment telling somethings I don’t agree in a book in a portuguese blog where an atheist says Dawkins is not a good philosopher. Anyway, I found the english translation at Google Books. Dawkins enumerates «good scientists who are sincerely religious in the full, tradicional sense». He described the child abuse as an psychological abuse with the belief «in something like the punishment of unshriven mortal sins in an eternal hell» and labeling «children as possessors of beliefs».

    On the point. There’s a YouTube video called “The Atheist Delusion” made by EdwardCurrent user. We find at the description box: «My indisputable Biblical proof that atheists are deluded and stupid». He had to add: «(Yes, this is a SATIRE.)» From the comments: «Some are wondering how people couldn’t see that this is satire…» If someone is confused, we think: is it an atheist acting as a creationist making fun of atheists, or a creationist making fun of atheists? I sincerely don’t believe a creationist would do something like a “The Creationist Delusion” – I gave you a chance do disagree, but you can do it anyway. When I found “Beware the Believers” I though it was an atheist making something like EdwardCurrent, based on an argument-from-victimization, or a creationist making fun of atheists. What is the parody and what is the real thing?

    Regards

    • Kliska

      Pedro, nothing you are telling me here is going against any of my arguments. Dawkins loves rhetoric, and puts down anyone who does not believe in Darwinian evolution. The vids were an example of Poe’s Law, there can be different approaches to making one’s point, including sarcasm aimed at an opposing POV, or one’s own POV to make a point, etc… That’s pretty much been covered. I appreciate you following the blog, and following along in the comments.

      • Kliska

        I honestly don’t believe it was meant to come off that way, esp. knowing the writers, etc…but it just…did. I’ll post your other reply in other Doc. Who discussion when I get a chance to reply, BTW.

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